Class 12 | Heritage of Words
Writer: Garrison Keillor
“Gretel” is the contemporary adaptation of the writer Garrison Keillor. In this adaptation, the writer strongly states the statement given by Gretel in their going to the forest. Gretel explores various feeling related to her bother Hansel, father and stepmother as well as the witch in the gingerbread house. Gretel is a radical or militant feminist. In the fairy tale “Gretel”, Keillor has sketched her character as a strong and dominant person. She blames the male characters who want to exploit her and her step-mother. She has to get half of the profits earned by selling the book according to the contract. However, the lawyers of Hansel put her under a spell and make her sign another contract. Then she gets very little money and the book is regarded to be pure imagination.
Gretel is a benevolent as well as a strong girl. She advocates women’s rights and seems to be a feminist and wanted to raise her voice against the patriarchal society (male-dominated society). She wants to make the women aware and raises the voice against; injustice and inequality. She believes that women should get equal property right. When her brother makes a conspiracy not to share the money after selling the book, she becomes angry and evaluates that males are very cruel. She learns so many things from her own experience. The more she faces problems and suffers, the stronger she becomes. She is very sympathetic to the condition of women in society. She is even sympathetic to the witch and her stepmother. She criticizes her father and brother. She always supports justice, equality and liberty. She is a strong-minded, clever, brave and courageous girl. She is very hopeful about her life and future. She thinks that her stepmother and the witch are not completely wrong but they show kind behaviour towards the children due to the tradition. So tradition or faith is wrong. She is hopeful because she thinks that a girl like her may be the prey of various animals as well as birds. She may be bothered by fairies, shepherds, hermits as well. Gretel, after all, cope the circumstances with her wise sense and cleverness.
Gretel expresses her different opinion to the cruel character too. Her step-mother is presented to be wicked and cruel; she is not so according to Gretel. Gretel says that it is the plan of the cruel father to leave her and her brother in the dense forest. She has to beat her brother to make him walk. She has to carry him on her back. Her father is a drunkard and the stepmother can do nothing against his will. She blames her father and brother for being cruel and selfish. They live happily in a large building but Gretel and her step-mother have no home of their own. Gretel raises her hand against male domination. She supports the principle that women should have equal rights as men. She raises her voice against injustice. She supports feminism. She goes against male superiority. She proves that Hansel, being male, is unable to do anything. He is tired, nervous and afraid. She proves his weakness by carrying him on her back.
Gretel criticizes her father also says he is selfish, unkind and irresponsible. He dominates his wife and doesn’t give her the share of the property. Gretel is not afraid of anything. She has even sympathy for the witch. She thinks that the witch and the step-mother are not as bad as they are supposed to be. She feels sorry for the witch as she has pushed her without good reason. She thinks that the witch suffers most. In this way, Gretel is a strong feminist who criticizes the existing male superiority in society. She suffers because of the injustice of males. However, she is never hopeless. She believes that no children suffer permanently in the lap of nature. In this way. We can strongly state that Gretel is the strong supporter of justice, equality and she often condemns (criticizes) injustice, male domination, sex discrimination and other social inequalities.